BlackBerry making changes to work with Ford

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Email / IM, Gadgets / Other, GPS/Navigation, Mobile, Robots/AI, Smartphones, Transportation

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RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones, will be making their devices compliant with Bluetooth Message Access Profile and enable Ford’s SYNC text messaging capabilities in upcoming devices. Ford is adding to it’s popular SYNC services and aims to get texting by voice under it’s umbrella. Ford plans to add other features to encourage riders to keep their eyes on the road, no on texts.

“Text messaging has become the default communications method for consumers of all ages,” said John Schneider, chief engineer, Ford multimedia and infotainment engineering. “The power of SYNC voice control combined with Ford’s latest connectivity improvements will reduce the temptation to pick up the phone and take your eyes off the road, providing a safer solution for the use of mobile devices in the car.”

Ford cites a new poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which shows approximately 1 in 4 (27%) American adults and teens (26%) admit to texting while driving. The statistic got Ford motivated to incorporate texting into their SYNC platform. Ford’s got a plan to deal with messages while driving and has signed BlackBerry up.

“RIM plans to implement MAP on BlackBerry smartphones moving forward and we are pleased to work with Ford in an effort to foster industry-wide adoption and standardization,” said Andrew Bocking, Vice President, Handheld Software Product Management at Research In Motion. RIM is currently working with Ford and both are using a standard set by Bluetooth SIG, Special Interests Group who hopes to make the MAP standard universal.

“Defined by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the MAP standard outlines a set of features and procedures used to exchange email, SMS, and MMS messages between devices. It is tailored to the automotive hands-free environment where an onboard terminal device – in this case, SYNC – takes advantage of the messaging capability of a communications device, such as a BlackBerry smartphone.” Essentially, SMS and MMS messages will be read aloud by the SYNC system and allow you to reply via voice.

Ford is taking steps to reduce drivers distractions even more. The new 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will be first to offer a “do not disturb” button that will provide the driver with solace instead of ringing phones and text alerts – perfect for frantic drivers. Ford is also reworking their menus to keep choices while driving limited and focused only on tasks related to driving. Other data will be relegated to be accessed only when the car is immobile.

Product page: [Ford] Press release: [VPO]

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